Hungarian Walnut and Sour Cream Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
Vanilla sugar for sprinkling (see note)
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cloves and set aside.
Using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with the sugar, egg, zest and vanilla until smooth and well combined. On low speed, stir in the sour cream and scrape the bowl well. Using a wooden spoon or a fork, stir and fold in the dry ingredients. Add 3/4 cup chopped walnuts and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate dough 1 hour or longer in a covered mixing bowl for easier handling.
Adjust the rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with regular aluminum foil. Combine the 1 1/4 cups chopped nuts with the sugar in a small bowl or on wax paper.
Make tablespoon-sized balls of dough and roll in the nut and sugar combination to coat completely while flattening each one into a chubby patty. Place on the baking sheet with 2 inches between each one.
Bake 8 minutes. Reverse the pan so the back is in the front and bake 8 minutes longer. The cookies are done when a tester inserted comes out clean or they spring back when pressed. Cool the cookies in the pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove the cookies to a wire rack for complete cooling. Before serving, sift a shower of vanilla sugar over each cookie.
Note: To make vanilla sugar, split 2 whole vanilla beans and bury them in a canister of confectioner's sugar. Allow the sugar to age several days before using it. You can omit this step and use plain confectioner's sugar.
Makes 27 to 30 cookies.
From Dolores Kostelni, freelance food/travel writer, Lexington, Va.